Monday, August 5, 2013

The Fitzgerald Family Bible

This family bible was on display at the JFK Museum in Boston, Massachusetts. It is right next to a small theater showing a film of his inauguration and speech.  You can see this bible under his hand when he was being sworn in as US President.  I wonder if his forebears ever thought this simple family bible would be used to swear-in a president!

The Fitzgerald Family Bible

This Bible, an 1850 edition of the Douay English translation, was brought to the United States from Ireland by President Kennedy's forebears.  The front pages contain a handwritten family chronicle dating from 1857.  These notes document the engagement of Rose E. Fitzgerald and Joseph P. Kennedy, their marriage in 1914, and a list of the births of their nine children, including a record of the birth of John Fitzgerald Kennedy on May 29, 1917.

In the second week of January 1961, JFK sent two secret agents to the Dorchester home of his uncle, Tom A. Fitzgerald, who had held and preserved the Bible for many years, and had it ready to go in a shopping bag from a local supermarket.  The agents brought the Bible to Washington, DC, where, on January 20, 1961, President Kennedy used it to take the oath of office as the 35th President of the United States.

Here is a reconstruction of the Fitzgerald genealogy [I couldn't peek at what was in the bible] taken from

Generation 1:  Thomas Fitzgerald abt 1835 - 1885 m. Rosanna Cox abt 1835  - 1879 (both were born in Ireland and married in Boston on 15 November 1857)

Generation 1:  John Francis Fitzgerald 1863 - 1950 m. Mary Josephine Hannon 1865 - 1964 (both were born in Massachusetts and married in Concord, Massachusetts on 18 September 1889)

Generation 2:  Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald 1890 - 1995 m. Joseph Patrick Kennedy 1888 - 1969 (married in Boston on 7 October 1914)

Generation 3:  John Fitzgerald Kennedy 1917 - 1963 m. Jacqueline Lee Bouvier 1929 - 1994 (married on 12 September 1953 in Newport, Rhode Island)

JFK's Inauguration, 20 January 1961
The bible is on the podium

This excerpt from JFK's Inaugural Address is 
inscribed on the wall of the JFK Museum, in the atrium

The JFK Library and Museum, Boston, Massachusetts
My blog post about visiting the museum, click this link:

Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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